As an inertia friction welding provider, we build many types of rollers for our industrial printer and material handling partners. Over the years, we’ve met some OEMs who thought inertia welding wasn’t their best option – due to the potential problems listed below. However, if you decide to partner with Pierce as your inertia friction welder, we believe you can resolve these potential problems.
1. Your Part Program Exceeds 1,000 Per Lot
If you regularly have a high volume of parts to produce, in-house inertia welding might not be your best bet. And since near-net shapes offer many benefits, there are a number of other efficient ways you can get them produced. High-volume processes include casting and forging, which may be better options for a part program that ranges in the thousands per lot. In this case, you will also want to make sure you can front the cost of a die investment.
Why wouldn’t in-house inertia friction welding be a good choice in this case? To create near-net shapes similar to castings and forgings, friction welding needs a machine setup, possibly a tooling investment to hold workpieces in place, the means to cut bar-stock, sometimes a special face for the weld surface, and the removal of the weld flash.
With that said, inertia welding could actually be a good choice if you partnered with a friction welder who customized to your specifications and order needs. In this case, the welder relieves you of having to deal with a friction welder machine and all the steps it takes to set up for your application. They will be able to handle higher volumes without costing you valuable time on setup.
2. Your Part Program Is Below 50 Per Lot
If you use a CNC machine to cut custom parts using oversized bar-stock, we usually find that you could benefit from replacing this process by starting with a near-net shape. And if you don’t have the large volume mentioned earlier, inertia friction welding is likely a better choice than casting or forging. In-house inertia welding would make sense if you had some ongoing demand to gradually pay off job-lot setup and tooling for work holding on each order. However, inertia welding might not fit a budget set for part orders that are small in volume and feature limited use.
Of course, there are exceptions that favor inertia friction welding for small, custom orders. Suppose you had a part order that requires a bi-metal fusion. Inertia welding is the absolute best way to create bi-metal components. Also, it might be necessary for you to use inertia welding to join complex shapes that can’t be machined from single pieces of bar-stock. And, as mentioned earlier, you could outsource to an inertia welder to reduce the cost of in-house welding. A welding partner is able to customize their process to your order and spec requirements, even if your part program is 50 or below.
3. Your Parts Don’t Require the Strength of a Fully-Fused Joint
The joints created by different methods of welding vary in strength. Traditional welding tends to be done by handheld methods. These traditional welding methods usually create a strong enough joint bond for certain applications; however, they do not equal the strength of a full material surface fusion. In modern manufacturing, inertia friction welding has been rising in popularity. One reason for this is to prevent the limitations of handheld processes. Another reason is to balance costs with a repeatable, computer-controlled technique. While traditional welding a “strong enough” joint bond may be passable for your application, inertia welding a fully-fused joint will simply add another positive feature should you choose to go that route.
Still Unsure About Inertia Friction Welding?
If you’re still unsure if inertia friction welding is right for your application, contact us. We can analyze your situation to determine if inertia welding will be your best choice in a manufacturing process that reduces total cost and cycle time.